So, You Want To Do Good With Your Career?

Compass & Map


Making an Impact

Do you want to have a positive impact on the world? There are many ways to go about it, but using your career to help others is one of the best. There are many ways to do more good than most people even imagine:

  • Elie studied religion. He spent several years as a hedge fund analyst, and then co-founded GiveWell to help identify the world's most effective charities and direct donations to them.

  • David is an academic researcher who is researching ways for the world to prepare for the long-term future, focused on avoiding and mitigating risks like pandemics.

  • Julia applies her background in social work to promote and support the effective altruism community.

You’re likely to spend a lot of time working, you’ll gain more skills and improve over time, and many organizations that are tackling some of the most important causes are having a hard time filling needed positions. This means that the impact you can have is incredible. But it requires you to plan ahead and actively steer your career path towards meaningful impact.


The Obstacles


There are many people who would like to do good with their careers but don’t. When asked why, these are a few common answers:

  • Some people don’t believe they can make a meaningful difference using their career.

  • Some are disillusioned with charities that had less impact than they expected.

  • Others feel that roles that actually make a difference require some very specific skill set that they don’t have.

  • Others don’t know of any relevant opportunities for their profession or in their area.

  • Some people are afraid that their needs, expenses, or lifestyle would be incompatible with work that helps others.

  • Many simply have no idea how to start looking or are scared by the idea of large changes in their career trajectory.

We’re Here to Help

This guide is here to help you through the process of figuring out how to make the most out of your career. We want to help you find a path that makes sense for your needs, situation and values, and has as much impact as possible.

There’s no ‘best role’ for everyone, and this guide doesn’t try to give specific answers to questions like “which organization should I join.” But we do provide some useful questions, decision-making processes and ideas that are valuable for many people that are trying to figure out how to do as much good as they can.


Whether you are a young student starting your career or an experienced professional, whether you already know which causes you want to contribute to or are confused and unsure, whether you have many opportunities or few, whether you are already contributing or just starting to think about it: if you want to have as much impact as you can with your career, we’re here to help!

Career Guide Principles

Doing the Most Good

We’re part of the Effective Altruism community which seeks to answer one simple-sounding question: How can we use our resources to do the most good? This means that we’re not content with doing some good, but want to understand how we achieve as much impact as possible.


The advice we give isn’t based on our gut feelings and intuition. It’s based on the best data and evidence we can find. Of course, there’s rarely perfect evidence, so we’re also very careful in noting our level of confidence in our claims and what evidence we base them on.


Tools Over Conclusions

We aim to give you the tools to make informed decisions, rather than giving specific answers or recommendations. While this means that our suggestions don’t provide easy answers, we think the relevance and quality of the conclusions you eventually reach more than makes up for it.

1. Starting Out

   1.a. So, You Want To Good With Your Career?

   1.b. Where To Start


2. Research & Introspection

   2.a. Values & Impact

   2.b. Values

   2.c. Analyzing Cause Areas

   2.d. Important Cause Areas

   2.e. Assessing Counterfactual Impact

   2.f.  Assessing Impact of Specific Roles
   2.g. Problem Significance

   2.h. Method Efficacy

   2.i.  Role Leverage
   2.j.  Personal Fit

   2.k. Assessing roles in real life scenarios

3. Uncertainties & Experimentation

   3.a. Modelling Uncertainty

   3.b. Most Important Questions

   3.c. Experimentation


4. Decisions & Moving Forward

   4.a. Long-Term Career Planning

   4.b. Finding Relevant Opportunities

   4.c. Getting the Job You Want

In addition to this guide, we also offer:

* We're currently writing the guide so it's likely that this general table of contents will change considerably.

One Last Piece of General Advice:


You are an individual who has a specific set of skills, preferences, constraints and experiences. This guide could not, and should not, replace your own judgement (and neither should any other piece of information you read on the internet). We hope the advice we provide will be valuable to you, but you should think about our advice, see whether and how it applies to your circumstances, and make the decisions you find to be promising and acceptable to you.

And of course, if we've given you advice you disagree with, we'd love to hear from you!